Culture and Conceptual Contents of Emotion

Document Type

Book Chapter


Psychology (CMC)

Publication Date



The extent to which culture shapes the experience of emotion has been a central
concern for psychologists and anthropologists alike. The topic is potentially important not only for understanding the role that cultures play in giving meaning to inner experience and shaping psychological processes, but also for our conceptualization and understanding regarding the nature of emotion, itself. Perhaps, because of its complexities, researchers examining cross cultural differences and similarities in emotion has often focused on specific components of emotion (e.g. facial expressions, causes of emotion, emotion recognition) in their studies. Furthermore, the specific aspect of emotion that is considered often depends on the researchers’ theoretical assumptions regarding what constitutes emotions. Emotions have either been seen as biological, a product of evolution or a social construction, a product of culture. The purpose of the following paper is to present how emotions have been conceptualized in the literature and how this conceptualization has influence the way in which researchers examine the role of culture. We then review the cross-cultural literature on emotion under the lens of the conceptual act model of emotion, and conclude with implications for research and clinical practice.

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© 2013 Nova Science Publishers

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